| Quote #7
"What are you kids doing?" It was the same words that Jess's mother might have used, but it didn't come out the same way. Judy's eyes were kind of fuzzed over as she spoke, and her voice sounded as though it were being broadcast from miles away. (9.13)
Well, we know all about Jess's absent father, and faded mother, and here we see Leslie's mother is absent in a different way. She's there, in the same house as they are, yet she's also not there. Her brain is somewhere else. She makes all the right motions and says the same thing Jess's mother might have, but it doesn't mean the same thing somehow. For one of the first times, we realize that Leslie might have a similar problem to the one that Jess has, just in a different form.
| Quote #8
He wondered what it would be like to have a mother whose stories were inside her head instead of marching across the television screen all day long. (9.23)
Jess's mother doesn't come off too well here in comparison to Leslie's – Leslie's is creative and preoccupied in the quest for establishing new knowledge, while Jess's is preoccupied by emptying her mind and letting other people's ideas fill it.
| Quote #9
Suddenly his mother let out a great shuddering sob. "O my God. O my God." She said it over and over, her head down on her arms. His father moved to put his arm around her awkwardly, but he didn't take his eyes off Jess. (10.72)
For most of the book, we see Jess's parents through his biased lens, and see them in a negative light – especially in comparison to Leslie's parents, or to Leslie and Jess's own actions. But here we're reminded of their deep love for Jess as we see their fear that he was in danger and their relief that he's OK.